Stratum II
Remains of a structure, built of ashlars and set on massive foundations, were exposed (Fig. 2). Since the building was only partially preserved it was not possible to determine its size. The first course of construction and remains of a flagstone pavement survived.
The northern wall of the building (W51; length 7.5 m, width 1.7 m; Fig. 3), oriented east–west, was meticulously built of two rows of large ashlars with a core of medium-sized stone fill. The stone in the northeastern corner was exceptionally large (0.45 × 0.70 × 1.00 m) and its margins were drafted; it apparently enclosed a threshold from the west that did not survive (Figs. 2: Section 1-1, 4).
Wall 51 was abutted by a perpendicular wall (W55; length 4 m, width 1.55 m), which ended in a kind of offset (W54) that faced west. A stone pavement abutted W55 from the east (Fig. 5). Twenty ashlars of identical size, arranged in two rows, were found c. 1.5 m south of the offset (Fig. 6); it seems that they were carefully gathered from the ruins of the building, deliberately piled, and were presumably intended for future construction.
Remains of a water channel (min. length 4.5 m) were uncovered west of the building; it is not clear whether the channel was associated with the building.
The state of the remains indicates that the building’s stones were robbed after it was abandoned.
The finds recovered from the structure included imported pottery vessels, such as burnished bowls (Fig. 7:1–5), Rhodian amphorae (Fig. 7:13) and a jug with a trefoil rim (Fig. 7:11), together with locally produced pottery, including large kraters (Fig. 7:6–8), a cooking pot (Fig. 7:9), a baking tray (Fig. 7:10) and a jar (Fig. 7:12). In addition, murex shells that evince the production of purple dye were found.
A figurine was found close to the threshold; a man’s leg next to lion’s fur could clearly be discerned on it (Fig. 8). The mane, eyes and mouth are apparent on the head of the lion. Figurines of this kind are known from the Hellenistic world, depicting Heracles wrapped in the skin of the Nemean lion. Such figurines have been found in the country in public complexes, as well as in private homes; two other figurines were found in ‘Akko and one each in Maresha, Tel Dor and Samaria.
Stratum I
A floor bedding composed of small stones (L502, L504, L505; 4.0 × 4.5 m; Fig. 9) was exposed; it was laid above the original floor level that abutted the walls of the Hellenistic building. The floor was delimited on the east by a curved wall (W53), preserved a single course high. No remains of the flagstone floor from Stratum II that was exposed west of the building were found in two probes excavated in the floor of Stratum I (L512, L513). An antoninianus of Emperor Carus (282–283 CE; IAA 106551) was discovered at the top of Probe 513.
Overlaying the floor bedding, which was presumably used as a courtyard, were fragments of bowls (Fig. 7:14) and cooking pots (Fig. 7:15, 16) that dated to the Early Roman period (until the first half of the first century CE). The pottery vessels, made of sandy clay, were local imitations of Kefar Hananya ware, which is a rare phenomenon.
The massive foundations of the building, the width of its walls and the manner of its construction, using ashlars with drafted margins, attest to its being a public building, but the limited excavation area and the partial preservation of the structure did not enable a clear determination of its function. The proximity of the building to the temple, located to the east, may possibly indicate the public character of the area.